I love talking like a pirate. It almost got me killed in the joint, but I couldn’t help it. Guy had a fucking eye patch, so I called him cap’n, and he tried to shiv me. How was I supposed to know the dude was some kind of Aryan royalty? Actually, now that I think of it, he was covered in Aryan tattoos and I was just a dumbass.
But I digress.
One of the bad parts of our grand plan, something we didn’t think of, was starting the boat. There were no keys, and we all kinda stood around until Ship took charge and tried to hotwire it. It would seem that my genius buddy was no criminal. He couldn’t hotwire…well…something that could be easily hotwired. Yeah I got nothing.
Anyway, they all looked to me. I was, in fact, a criminal. The worst part of it was that I figured it out in about five minutes. Not because I had been in jail, not because I was illicit, or felonious, but because I had been a God damned mechanic.
F you and your thoughts on my past Dear Reader.
So Ship comes and gets me, (and believe me, I was doing something important) and now instead of being terrified, I’m pissed and full of righteous indignation. And terror. There was terror.
See, this is where the intelligent reader says “Whoa. Just whoa. Where are my zombies? Weren’t they right on top of you? I mean, your criminal enterprises and ability to circumnavigate an electronic ignition not-withstanding, you seem to have misplaced the true antagonist of the tale. Furthermore, everybody knows that old shrimping vessels do not have electronic ignition.”
Firstly, Fuck you.
Secondly, Yes, shrimp boats do have electronic ignition. The boat was ancient, some might consider it pre-Columbian art. Every piece of equipment on said vessel was brand-spanking-new however. Including the state of the art key hole missing the key (he he) ingredient in starting the boat. The key. Guy must have hit the lottery, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why he upgraded the electronics on this tub and just didn’t buy a new piece of shit to shrimp with.
Thirdly, and most importantly, I didn’t misplace dick. The infected were there and in force. They were itching to dine on us as well, and were pushing each other off of the end of the dock, floundering for a moment, and sinking. I could see them going down, and I would lose sight of them at about fifteen feet or so. They would reach for us all the way down. It scares the shit out of me to think of how many just walked or were pushed off the end of that dock. Hundreds. The line of pussbags went all the way back down the dock, up the gangway, and into the parking lot. It looked like free crock pot day at Walmart, or the line for Space Mountain on a busy Disney afternoon.
Remember five or so paragraphs ago when I said I had been doing something important? Yeah, we had to push off the dock with these huge gaffs because we were drifting back toward the dock which was loaded with infected. What the hell did a shrimp boat have eight six foot gaffs for? I dunno, but that thought kept peeking over the abject terror I was feeling. Picture six of us pushing against the wharf with these poles, keeping the boat just out of reach of several hundred dead hands, while the owners of those hands just kept coming and coming. That boat was fucking heavy too.
So there’s a six to seven foot gap between the inconveniently un-started boat, and a wall of cannibals incapable of pain or fear. Said cannibals are walking off the end of the pier, and beginning to clog that space. Now the dead shit heads are crawling over their struggling buddies, and we can see that all the six foot poles in the world aren’t going to stop them from reaching us. In addition, every couple of seconds one of them with grab a pole or get stuck on the gaff, and it’s a bitch to get the pole back. We lost two poles in two minutes and were down to four.
It didn’t take long for the first dead bastard to crawl across his pals and slap his rotting paw on the gunwale. Kat shot him, and the next ten or twelve dickweeds to follow suit. That’s when Ship grabbed me and pulled me toward the ignition. I said it took me five minutes before, but when the living dead are trying to eat you, and people are screaming to hurry up or we’re all gonna die, five minutes is a friggin eternity.
There was a toolbox in a crate in the wheelhouse, and I used a flathead screwdriver to pry…you know what? F this, I just got it started with a screwdriver and a safety pin. Yup, McGuyver didn’t have shit on me. That dude is probably dead too.
The boat started, and I threw the red handle forward from neutral to go. I dunno nautical terms. Drive? Forward? Underway? I had seen enough boats to know that pushing that thing forward meant we were gonna go, and we did. Half a squad of army guys, and possibly the smartest giant on the planet, and I saved everybody’s ass.
Several dead had managed to get aboard, and the guys were fighting them off. I heard three gunshots and Kat scream, before I could get back out to help. I couldn’t just let the boat sail into the other docks, the channel was narrow, and I had to make sure we wouldn’t wreck the boat or get beached or something. Once we were heading out to sea, I hurried.
The dead were all re-killed, but one of the Chevy guys was on his back bleeding out. His hand was on his neck, but there was no saving him. We all knew it and so did he. He tried to stand, and his pals helped him up. Before we could do anything, he shot himself in the dome and toppled over the side. We sailed out to sea watching him float face down like he was playing a game in a pool. I never got his name.
Ship put his hand on my shoulder, and pointed to the wheelhouse. “Fuck if I know how to work this thing,” I told him spreading my arms. Everybody was looking at me. A huge blood stain was on the blue deck.
“Shit,” I said aloud, “fine, I’m captain. You,” I pointed to Babe, “clean that shit up. I dunno if that blood can infect us, but I don’t want to find out. Get it off my ship…er boat,” I looked at the big guy and gave him sorry face. “
I grabbed the kid who’s idea it had been begin this caper, “So where’s this oil rig?”
“Idunno.” He said it as one word, that’s why I wrote it like that.
“How the hell do I know where it is? It’s in the gulf someplace.”
“So your grand strategy was to get a boat, go out into the gulf, and look out the fucking window?” I was incredulous.
He had me. The little prick had me. We didn’t have any living dead to contend with, and we had some supplies. The fuel indicators told me we had 2/3 of a tank. We could look for almost a week before we had to abandon the search. That’s a week with no dead, and how big could the gulf be? Weren’t there tons of oil rigs out here?
I smiled and patted him on the back. “We’ll be fine,” I nodded, “Yeah, fine.”
Yeah, so the Gulf of Mexico is friggin big. We lucked out though, and found a platform on the first day. It was very small and occupied, and they shot at us so we moved on. We found a few more, most were rusty, dilapidated pieces of shit, not fit to visit. One was a big one, but that had a dozen or so boats tied up to its base. When they didn’t answer the radio we pulled close and I honked the horn. Nobody shot at us. That would normally be a good thing, but the reason they didn’t shoot was because they were all dead. The rig was crawling with puss bags.
We moved on again, and found a few more rigs, but they were either useless, hostile, or overrun. There were several of those oil rigs on a ship things too, and one of them, the Ensco DS-5 (stupid name for a ship, I know) took us on for a couple of nights. We traded news, and they were a good bunch of men and women. They knew that the US was gone, and didn’t want to go back to the mainland, but fuel was going to be a problem over the next year. They were talking about acquiring some type of fuel ship, but that might be a battle as well. The oil produced from the rigs was useless to them until it was refined, so they also talked about snagging a refinery ship, in which case they would have an indefinite amount of fuel.
They fed us and told us to watch out for pirates. Yes, pirates. As in bad guys with boats who want your shit. Probably effing rednecks. Redneck Pirate Zombies. Sounds like a bad comic book.
We wished them luck, and they did the same. They also gave us the coordinates of a huge oil and gas platform about two hundred miles south of New Orleans that was accepting survivors. That’s where we headed, and it took the better part of the day to get there. It was almost ten at night when we saw the platform off in the distance. It was light up like a Christmas tree, and it was BIG. We hailed them (like on Star Trek) and they told us to come on up and that we wouldn’t be fired upon. We would have to be inspected by a doctor and may need to surrender our weapons.
Both of those things filled me with dread, and I not-so-absentmindedly rubbed my collarbone bite. One time I submitted for inspection, I was shot in the dome. Not my favorite. This would be interesting, that’s for sure. I didn’t think we would part with our weapons, so I didn’t know if they would allow us on board anyway.
We pulled up to the lower docking area, and there were a dozen or so boats there already, including two huge ship oil rigs not unlike the Ensco DS-5. I was to learn later they are called drillships. We were met by some of the oil rig security force, all armed to the teeth. A doctor was there, and she inspected all of us for bites. Again, the bite on my collarbone looked like any other boo-boo, as did the one on the back of my shoulder, but the one on my leg screamed zombie bite to everyone who saw it. And see it she did.
“When did this happen,” she asked pointing to it.
“Almost three months ago,” I lied.
“Pre-outbreak? Who bit you?”
“Bar fight. I knocked the bastard down and the drunken prick grabbed my leg and gnawed on it.”
She furrowed her brow, “Well, it’s healing nicely, but Human bites can be extremely serious. You’re lucky it didn’t get infected.”
“I think I’m luckier that the guy was alive when he bit me.”
She smiled and I was in love, even though I was lying my ass off to her at our first meeting, “Agreed.”
She kept looking at me with her gorgeous brown doe eyes, and I swear to Christ my heart skipped a beat. Course I was standing in my shorts so I had to spin quickly and get dressed. It had been a long time since I had gone twenty toes, and this chick was hot, so Mr Happy had come to town. And the little bastard decided to set up shop in my pants. Little bastard might not have been the best choice of words to describe my penis. Rest assured I could beat you to death with it, and we’ll leave it at that.
So my stiffy and I left the room, and the doc might have even giggled. Utterly unprofessional and degrading, but holy shit it was cute too.
Then came the bad stuff. The rig security team, which consisted of a couple of marines that had found their way to the rig in small boat, and some roughnecks with guns, demanded that we give up our guns. They were nice about it at first, but when we said no, they flipped the safeties of their weapons. So after all the shit we had been through, we were going to have a firefight on the lower dock of an oil rig.
One of the roughnecks was looking at me with a half-smile, like he really wanted to drill me, but they were all kind of staring at Ship. His size does demand attention. Alvarez stepped forward to try to calm things down, and every one of the rig guys raised their weapons and pointed them at him.
Alvarez had his M4 on a single point sling on the front of him, and he slowly raised his hands.
“We’re taking your guns,” Half-smile said, “and then we’ll decide what to do with you.”
This shit was about to get very real.
“If you try to take our shit we’re all gonna die,” I told him, “all of us, you too.”
Mexican standoff. Except we were shit out of Mexicans. Well, Alvarez was of Mexican descent, so I guess he counted.
Half-smile turned into no smile, and I know in my heart of hearts he was about to start a very quick and very deadly gun battle, when one of the roughnecks, a scrawny guy, stepped out from the crowd.
“Greg?” The guy’s eyes actually bugged out of his head. He moved past Alvarez, who still had his hands up, and grabbed one of our guys, “Greg!” To my amazement, the guy hugged one of the soldiers and started to cry. Everybody still had their weapons ready, but now nobody seemed to know what to do.
“Hi Bobby,” Greg said.
Bobby backed up a step and said, “Shit! Guys this is my brother in law! I know him, for Christ’s sake put your guns down.” They did, and so did we, but Half-smile was pissed about it. One of the marines used his radio to call up to the rig, and in a couple of conversation filled minutes, some rig royalty showed up. The guy was dressed in jeans and a white T shirt. He walked up to us with his hand outstretched, Gentlemen, and lady, Welcome to Atlantis.